It’s tempting to welcome the end of 2016, and hope it signals a change in our collective fortunes. Maybe 2017 could bring a little less lying, a little less hostility in public discourse. Maybe we could all just try a little harder. It just doesn’t seem terribly likely.
Europe has always been the Tories’ most toxic issue — and even this “once in a generation” vote seems unlikely to draw out all the poison.
Those members of his Cabinet who plan to campaign to leave will do so knowing they are, in effect, also campaigning to remove David Cameron as Prime Minister.
All this bickering, briefing, and jockeying for position is all very well if you want to be the leader of the opposition. If on the other hand you want to be Prime Minister, you have to win an election.
And while voters don't expect to like their politicians, they usually want them to at least look like they're concentrating on important matters of state, rather than just insulting each other.
Michael Gove is not a stupid man. In fact, he's a very clever man. And being a clever man, he would have known just what kind of reaction his comments, carefully placed in the Daily Mail, would have.
And that's the point. Not only is Michael Gove a clever man, he's a very ambitious one. And one who probably wouldn't mind being the next Conservative Party leader.